WASHINGTON (3/19/08)--Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) signed on last week to support the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA, H.R. 1537), bringing the number of signatures in support of the House bill to 148. Earlier this month, the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association brought 80 credit union officials to make a round of Capitol Hill visits arranged in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA’s) Governmental Affairs Conference here. At that time, when the group met on credit union issues with Cummings, the lawmaker noted that he believes credit unions are a bridge that help people cross over financial difficulties to meet goals and attain wealth. CUNA VP of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan, noting that the CURIA co-sponsor list is on the precipice of reaching 150, warned Tuesday that there are no “magic numbers” when it comes to lawmakers’ support for the important credit union bill. “Credit union advocacy for regulatory improvements has to remain constant and at a high level until we accomplish the changes that are necessary to better serve credit union members,” Donovan said. Among changes proposed by CURIA:
* Clarify the 1998 Credit Union Membership Access Act to allow all credit unions, regardless of charter type, to serve those in underserved areas. The bill would also update the definition of an underserved area, incorporating definitions from the Community Development Financial Institutions Act and the New Markets Tax Credit; * Increase the current cap on loans to members for business purposes (MBLs) from 12.25% to 20% of assets, allowing credit unions to assist more members start and expand small businesses and to promote economic growth. The bill would also exempt loans under $100,000 and those to nonprofit religious organizations from the MBL calculation; * Establish additional consumer safeguards in the event of a credit union conversion to another form of financial institution; and * Reform the National Credit Union Administration's original prompt corrective action system to a risk-based approach more closely resembling the current Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. capital standard for banks.
“CUNA continues to work for the broadest possible support in both the House and Senate for important credit union legislation and continues to encourage leagues and credit unions to contact their federal lawmakers—especially over the Spring recess," Donovan added. Congress adjourned for a Spring District Work Break from March 17 through 28.